White House Press Secretary won't discuss alleged US strikes in Pakistan
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' second White House press briefing started with a series of questions on economics and the stimulus package, but it wasn't long before a reporter asked about alleged US missile strikes in Pakistan which reportedly killed 15 early Friday morning.
But Gibbs refused to answer the question by NBC News' Chuck Todd, saying, "I'm not going to get into this matter."
After Fox News' Major Garrett joined the slight fray that erupted over the non-answer, asking if he considered whether there was "justifiable curiosity about the president's first military actions."
"There are many things that you should be justifiably curious about," Gibbs responded, perhaps taking a knock at Fox News in general, "but I'm not gonna get into talking about this."
"If other members of the US government are confirming this, why is it that you can't?" Todd wanted to know.
"I'm not going to get into these matters," Gibbs said with a smile.
Afterward, other reporters went back to the economy and didn't press Gibbs for more details about what could be the first military operation conducted during the Obama Administration.
At least seven people were killed, most of them foreigners, in a suspected US missile strike in northwest Pakistan, bringing to 15 the number killed in such attacks on Friday, officials said.
"Two missiles fired by a suspected US drone hit a house in Wana," a senior security official told AFP, referring to the main town in South Waziristan district and a known hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda extremists.
It was the second suspected US missile attack in northwest Pakistan on Friday, just hours after eight people were killed in North Waziristan.
Friday's suspected US missile strikes were the first since US President Barack Obama took office in Washington and came one day after he appointed veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This video is from CNN's Newsroom, broadcast Jan. 23, 2009.
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(with wire reports)